You might think that having higher melanin levels means you don’t need to worry about sun protection, but think again! Dark skin tones do have more natural protection from UV rays than pale skin. The darkest skin tone will have a natural SPF of about 13, whilst white skin has about 3. However, you aren’t fully protected, and there are steps you should be taking to care for your skin too.
Despite having a higher natural SPF than pale skin, dark skin can still wrinkle, suffer from hyperpigmentation, and get skin cancer. Protecting your skin is the sensible thing to do. Even if you’ve never burned, it doesn’t mean the sun isn’t negatively affecting your skin. Dark skin is particularly susceptible to hyperpigmentation; uneven dark patches on the skin can be caused by a variety of different things, but is always made much worse by sun exposure.
Products containing titanium dioxide, a popular sun filter, used to leave an unfortunate white-cast on the skin, which made it impossible for people with darker skin tones to use it. Naturally, this discouraged people with dark skin from using sun protection. Luckily though, skincare companies have found ways of getting around this, so shop around and you’ll find a sun cream that will give you protection and keep your skin looking beautiful at the same time.
If you’re already suffering from hyperpigmentation, the most widely available treatments may not work for you. Intense Pulsed Light therapy, or IPL, tends to be less effective on darker skins, so consider a chemical peel, or microdermabrasion instead. The best treatment for you will depend on how deep the pigmentation goes. Consult a beauty therapist or other skincare professional for more advice, and make sure you keep applying that sun protection!